Dallas went into the draft knowing it had to help a secondary that got torched in 2011. Jerry Jones was aggressive, trading his first- (No. 14) and second-round pick (No. 45) to the Rams to move up to pick No. 6 so he could grab the best cornerback in the draft, LSU's Morris Claiborne.
Claiborne is a superb athlete who has the speed to run with receivers deep, the size to fight big receivers for jump balls, and the hips and feet to stay with smaller, quicker receivers. Along with newly signed Brandon Carr, Claiborne gives the Cowboys a set of dynamite corners.
After the Claiborne pick though, the Cowboys draft becomes a bit scattered.
In the third round, the Cowboys selected Boise State DE Tyrone Crawford, a good fit in their 3-4 scheme. Crawford has good size (6-4275) and gives Dallas depth behind Kenyon Coleman and Jason Hatcher. He may even be used as an OLB. If they were looking for someone to come in to play the 5-technique, I liked Clemson's Brandon Thompson, who went 12 picks later to Cincinnati.
Wake Forests Kyle Wilber, their first fourth-round pick, has a chance to back up OLBs Anthony Spencer and DeMarcus Ware, but isn't a very good pass rusher. Dallas may have been better off going with Oklahoma's Ronnell Lewis with this pick.
Their second fourth-rounder, safety Matt Johnson from Eastern Washington, wasn't a Combine invite, and will probably start out as a special teamer. But Dallas' incumbent safeties are nothing special, and the athletic Johnson could find his way into the starting lineup at some point during the season. Alabama NT Josh Chapman went immediately after Johnson with the first pick in the fifth round. I think he would have made more sense, giving the Cowboys depth behind Jay Ratliff.
I really like their fifth-round pick, Virginia Tech WR Danny Coale. Coale wasnt the fastest guy on the field, but whenever Tech needed a big catch, Coale was the go-to guy. He has good size (6-0201) and should be an ideal third receiver in Dallas.
Sixth-rounder James Hanna, a TE out of Oklahoma, ran a 4.49 40 at the Combine but never produced much in the Sooners' pass-happy offense. Still he has some physical tools that are interesting, and with Martellus Bennett gone, could be a suitable backup to Jason Witten.
Montana LB Caleb McSurdy, their seventh-round pick is a body who will have to earn his keep covering kicks.
The Dallas draft wasn't terrible. I don't see any reaches, and the aggressive move to get the top CB in the draft was commendable. The Coale pick was great value, and I believe he'll make an impact early. They really needed help at safety, but in their defense, the safety class was awful this year. I would have thought they'd have pursued a RB after Demarco Murray fractured his ankle last season, and Felix Jones' production continued to decline. But they passed on guys like Miami's Lamar Miller and Texas A&M's Cyrus Gray in the middle rounds.
Overall, Cowboys secured a stud in the first round and whole lot of depth with the rest of their picks. C
Jared Sherman has been providing CSNPhilly.com with draft analysis since 2000. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @Phillyjared.